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Industry Trends

A humanoid robot mows grass with a lawn mower. Future concept with robotics and artificial intelligence. 3D rendering.

People Who Have No Problem Ghosting You For No Reason Suddenly Butthurt About AI-Assisted Cover Letters

Google Discover recently threw a Mashable article at me about using ChatGPT to help write cover letters and how HR professionals are apparently displeased by this so I figured let’s talk about it since some of you might be looking for a job in the coming months. The figures come from a report by tech-forward […]

screenshot of Carmine Di Sibio's May 23 Squawk on the Street appearance

Carmine Talks About AI Putting HR Out of a Job, Attrition, and a Rough Labor Market

EY Global Chairman and CEO Carmine Di Sibio and King Charles III stan showed up on Squawk on the Street today talking about the labor market and, more notably, how the firm is using an AI chatbot to answer payroll questions. The AI segment begins around 3:05. He also discussed hiring, saying they’ve been seeing […]

Elon Musk smoking a blunt

Elon Musk Thinks You’re a Douche If You Work From Home

Hate to be the bearer of bad news but the glorious days of work anywhere and firms too scared to lose you to force you to return to the office may soon be behind us. Apparently KPMG is telling tax people they need to come in three days a week now and PwC announced a […]

Rise Up! BDO USA Is Gonna Double Its Offshore Workforce, Mostly in India

[Ed. note: scroll down for assy commentary and screenshots of BDO leadership’s visit to India just days after they laid off a bunch of people in advisory, I need to get this part out of the way first] Financial Times has written about BDO USA’s plan to double its offshore workforce and couched the move […]

Flag of the Philippines on a brick wall

The Philippines is Running Low on Accountants and US Firms Should Be Worried

In recent years, US firms have shifted heavily into offshoring and it seems it never crossed anyone’s mind that offshore talent might be a finite resource. So far it seems dwindling accounting graduate numbers in the Philippines are mostly affecting in-country businesses and firms, still something worth keeping an eye on. This is from CNN […]

empty open office

Seniors and Up Are Hard to Find Because Associate Grunt Work Has Been Automated?

Yet another article about the accountant shortage has been published and we’ll spare you the bit about mass boomer retirements, declining accounting enrollments, and scary AICPA figures because it gets repeated in every single one of these articles. So why mention it at all? Because at the very bottom they get the expert opinion of […]

abandoned office

While Other Industries Have Turned to the Stick, Accounting Firms Continue to Use the Carrot to Encourage RTO

PwC’s hybrid work policy was quite the big deal when it was announced in October 2021, it signaled perhaps a change in corporate mentality that meant employees would be allowed the discretion to determine on their own if they need to be in the office or not. Other firms took a similar approach, though their […]

brain and paperclip

Busy Season Survival Tip #626: Save Those Paperclips

Accounting OG @twuench took a break from telling interns to get off his lawn and has shared this great busy season survival tip from his former direct report at PwC. Take notes, people. IRS employees, y’all are out of luck sorry. Not like you’re allowed to partake anyway.

Accounting Firm Leaders Cite ‘Rising Salaries’ As The Second Biggest Problem Facing Their Firms

Accounting Today has published “The 20 biggest problems for firms in 2023” and no one will be surprised to find out that the war for talent ranks #1 among the firms AT surveyed. Talent actually has its tentacles in a number of problems on AT’s list and spills over into several items–capacity issues, burnout, retention. […]

a welcome to Virginia sign

Survey Says: Virginia Accountant Salaries By Experience Level

Skipping the smart-ass headline for this one and getting right to it: Virginia Society of CPAs surveyed a total of 84 public firms, 17 solo practitioners, 133 accountants in corporate/industry, and 48 in government/nonprofit for the 2022 VSCPA Compensation & Benefits Survey and here are the results: Virginia Accounting Salaries Mean Median Accountant I: 0-1.9 […]

concept photo representing a layoff

PwC Australia Says It Will Not Be Firing People Just Because Client Work Slows Down

A few short weeks ago, KPMG US cut a few hundred advisory jobs and KPMG Australia followed close behind with a reduction of about 200 or two percent of its approximately 10,000 staff. This, they said, was due to a slowdown in consulting work. When Australian Financial Review wrote up the KPMG cuts, they mentioned […]

Integrating Experience and Education is One Way to Ease the Accountant Shortage at Least a Little

There’s a contentious battle raging over the 150 unit requirement for CPA licensure as we speak and in the meantime we have to figure something out to ease the accountant shortage that has a bit more immediate impact (and doesn’t involve paying people more because clearly the firms are not down with that idea). Wherever […]

business guy raging

OK Now They Are Just Trolling With These ‘Newest Workplace Trend’ Buzz Phrases

Ever since professor Anthony Klotz coined the term “The Great Resignation” in 2021 we have been inundated with more and increasingly nonsensical workplace trends bouncing around the business rags. Quiet quitting, quiet hiring, bare minimum Mondays, ‘tang ping,‘ (‘lying flat’ in Mandarin Chinese), and now we have “rage applying” which we’ll get to in a […]

question marks on brown background

We Asked Twitter What’s the Second Most Important Issue in the Accounting Profession Right Now, Here’s What They Said

Bored of writing and talking about the dire accountant shortage and the consequences it could have on the entire financial system as we know it, the other day I tweeted a question to find out what else folks think is plaguing accounting. Thanks to everyone who chimed in, I know sometimes Twitter feels like shouting […]

150

What You Should Know About Changing the 150 Hour Rule Before You Debate For or Against It

All-around awesome person Byron Patrick tweeted a bit of a manifesto on the 150 hour rule today and I want to share it as a movement to lower the CPA licensure requirement of 150 units to ease the CPA shortage is currently underway. Minnesota just introduced a bill to add a 120 units/two years of […]

woman working at home with her dog

Accounting Firms Are Being Uncharacteristically Modern About This Whole Remote Work Thing

Are we ready for another survey? OH BOY. Thomson Reuters has written up the 2022 ConvergenceCoaching, LLC® Anytime, Anywhere Work™ (ATAWW) Survey — you can request survey results here — and we learn that almost all responding firms say they are being flexible about where and when their people put in their time. Of the […]

the pizza parties will continue until morale improves flag

We Regret to Inform You That National Pizza Day Has Come and Gone

Just before midnight last night my phone reminded me that February 9 is National Pizza Day, an event celebrated year-round at accounting firms across the country. Why February 9? I’m not exactly sure, and Googling it only got me a bunch of weird AI-populated websites about the history of pizza. Did find this though: I’ve […]

Mexican flag against a blue sky

Accounting Firms Have Begun to See Mexico As a Goldmine for Accounting and Finance Talent, Says Guy

Max Tokarsky — whose Twitter bio reads: “We can help your company grow by augmenting your U.S. team with Ivy League class, bilingual professionals based in Mexico” — has written a piece for Forbes about the current outsourcing trend from his perspective as a guy who is helping companies grow by augmenting their U.S. team […]

a stressed out person in black and white

Let’s Talk About Why ‘Musculoskeletal Issues’ Are on the Rise at This Accounting Firm

Although I am not a loyal reader of Human Resource Executive I did come across an article they just did on CLA — also known by their confirmation name CliftonLarsonAllen — and the benefits HRE outlined in said article sound awesome. Flexible PTO, a wellness stipend, access to cognitive behavioral therapy for the employee as […]

referees in a huddle on the field

Accountants Are the Referees of Business, Says Guy Who Would Know

There’s another article about the accountant shortage today and this time it’s in Insider. There’s nothing in there you don’t already know — enrollments are down, boomers are retiring, the process of becoming a CPA is extra and sucks, kids need to be convinced that accounting is great, blah blah — but they did get […]

guy relaxing in a hammock

Bad News For Big 4: Educated Men Have Decided to Not Work So Hard

It is known that the pandemic shifted everyone’s priorities and forced many of us to confront the question of “what am I doing with my life?” Almost all human beings with jobs have thought about this at some point between March 2020 and now, and many of them came to the conclusion that whatever they […]

LEGO businessman at a desk

KPMG Vice Chair Hopes All the Tech Layoffs Will Scare College Kids Into Accounting

KPMG Vice Chair Greg Engel has been having trouble sleeping lately. It isn’t climate change or social justice or the price of eggs keeping him up at night, like most accounting leaders he is consumed by the talent shortage. No really, that’s what he told CFO Dive. Not to worry, Engel has hope. Hope that […]

an empty office lobby and elevator

Accountants Will Not Be Motivated to Get Back to the Office

Someone sent us this r/accounting thread on returning to the office the other day and wanted to make sure we call out one comment in particular. You’ll see why in a second. The question of what would motivate you to go back to the office has been asked before, in a multitude of ways, and […]

KPMG Manchester office and some clip art people

If Your Parents Were Poor, It Takes Longer to Climb the Ladder at KPMG (No Really)

Big 4 firms spit out all kinds of research — very little of which rates a mention beyond maybe somewhere in a linkwrap if that — but this research from KPMG we’re about to share with you (which we did bury in a linkwrap some weeks back) deserves a callout of its own. Not because […]

a "good vibes only" sign on fire

Let’s Start the Year Off With Some Doomsaying Predictions For the Profession in 2023

2022 was not exactly a banner year for accounting but if you don’t count the collapse of FTX, it wasn’t terrible for public perception either. Oh wait, there was that whole EY cheating thing. And a big IRS raid tied to tax incentives. That’s it though right? IDK, if I missed something big let me […]

Even People Who Majored in Accounting Don’t Want To Be Accountants

Pay extra close attention to accounting firm press releases this year, they will be packed with claims of record applicants, excess hiring, and huge numbers of incoming interns. Why? Firms have a vested interest in acting as if teams are fully staffed and everything is OK because were they to admit things are decidedly not […]

a dry plain symbolizing a talent drought

Wall Street Journal Addresses the Accountant Shortage, Suggests a Recession Could Fix It

I made my entrée into accounting way back in 2007, at the time my job involved a three-hour roundtrip journey across four Bay Area counties and back and I was looking for something a bit closer to home. Shortly after starting in CPA review, I started seeing more and more “For Sale” signs on the […]

a cringey date

Accounting Firms Are Embarrassing Themselves on the Talent Dating Market

It’s December 2022 and we’re now a good year into “The Great Accounting Shortage,” the depth of which won’t truly be known until the fines start rolling in for piss-poor audit work performed by skeleton crews. So, any day now. I’m sharing this r/accounting post so six months from now we can look back on […]

weiner dog

This One Chart Shows Just How Boned the Accounting Profession Is

Perusing The CPA Journal as one does when one is tasked with the onerous burden of reporting on happenings in a profession in which so few things happen, I saw this discussion on CPA Evolution by Nina Terranova Dorata, PhD, CPA and Vincent J. Shea. In it, questions are tossed out about how accounting education […]

empty grocery store shelves

The Accountant Shortage Makes One Office Get Really Desperate

You know how if you’re on Tinder for a while and you’re not getting many matches because your standards are too high so you widen the net a bit and start overlooking things like “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best” in people’s bios? Well that’s pretty […]

empty chair signifying a talent shortage

The Accounting Talent Shortage is Not New, You Guys

Although the accounting talent shortage seems like something that just popped out of nowhere and couldn’t possibly have been predicted, oh, a decade ago, I feel compelled to remind everyone that we here at Going Concern saw this coming. I don’t say that in a “hurr durr I’ve been talking about this for ten years […]

If This Field Report on the Talent Shortage is Remotely True Public Accounting is Screwed

The below comment was left on a post about public accounting salaries published Monday and we thought it worth sharing because if true, it signals a collapse of the public accounting ladder as we know it. Didn’t think we were at full-on collapse yet, just a little bump in the road until firms can talk partners […]

a screenshot from the game Mortal Kombat

Accounting Firms Can No Longer Hold Sadistic Survivor-y Competitions For Talent, Says Guy Who Sounds Disappointed About That

There was an article in the Denver Post last week about the accountant shortage and in it, the Post talks to a professor who suggests that business students once fought over coveted, well-paid positions at accounting firms. This must have been before my time because in 2007 Big 4 firms were paying $50k starting salaries […]

a guy in business dress carrying his stuff out of the office in a cardboard box

KPMG’s ‘Do As We Say Not As We Do’ Tips to Prevent Employee Turnover

KPMG has some sponsored content in Harvard Business Review about how to keep employees from defecting (defecting? Really? It’s a job, not the Sandinistas) and in it, the firm offers some suggestions to encourage employee loyalty. Suggestions that they themselves would be wise to implement should KPMG want to hang on to their own people […]

How Many CPAs Are There in the United States?

669,130. That’s how many licensed CPAs there are in the United States as of August 24, 2021 per NASBA. This only counts CPAs in 54 of the 55 licensing jurisdictions, Hawaii is not included in the data. Nearly 20 years ago, the number of licensed CPAs was 639,628 (2003) and 646,520 by 2006. Interestingly, the […]

Shocking News: 82.4% of Hiring Managers Are Struggling to Find Accounting and Finance Talent

What we’re about to share with you shouldn’t be news to anyone and in fact the only news here is that somewhere, 9.1% of public company hiring managers and 14.8% of private company hiring managers are not struggling to find talent. Well that’s what they reported to Deloitte, anyway. Sheryl Estrada writes in Fortune: Deloitte shared […]

Are Accounting Firms Really Sending 30% of Their Work Offshore?

In the past several weeks we have heard — and read — about huge amounts of work getting sent offshore. To India mostly, also the Philippines. Outsourcing is nothing new and rather expected given today’s talent shortages but 30%? Perhaps more? Doing a quick search pulled up a 2011 Accountancy Age article which mentioned PwC […]

Don’t Be Surprised to See Accounting Firms Aggressively Merging in the Next Year or Two

Have you heard? There’s an accountant shortage! This is probably coming as a shock to you but it’s true. Firms are trying all sorts of tricks to find and retain talent but the problem may be deeper than not having the right set of perks but rather an actual shortage of qualified talent. This issue […]

PSA: Do NOT Take a Pay Cut For the ‘Privilege’ of Working Remotely

In the coming weeks and months, you’re going to see lots of headlines warning that the workers’ market we are blessed to experience today is shifting back to one that favors employers as the economy starts circling the toilet. You already have seen these headlines, I’m sure. Here’s one: some HR clown who works for […]

a corgi stealing food off the counter

Blind Item: California Firms Are Paying California Salaries to Poach Midwestern Public Accountants (UPDATE)

Are you a public accountant in a LCOL or MCOL Midwestern city? Put down the beer, open your ears, and whip out your wallet for this one. A source tells us California firms are setting their sights on comparatively lower cost of living Midwest cities to fill their vacancies. And they’re doing it not to […]

a pair of pensive people

Are ‘Strong Leadership, Agile Working, and a People-Centric Value Proposition’ on Your List of Must Haves at Work?

UK businesses within the accounting industry are understaffed by 22% and leaders everywhere are busy telling each other the things accounting professionals — particularly the younger generation — are hungry for at work. Fewer hours? Better money? Not getting scammed out of accrued PTO with a switch to “unlimited” vacation? NAH. What we really need […]

thumbs down to ugly office parks

Attn Firm Leaders: No One Wants to Work at Your Stupid, Ugly Office Park

Collaboration. Culture. Fancy new open offices. The occasional free sandwich. Firms continue their desperate attempts to lure people back into the office, not too aggressively though as they know if you push people too hard on remote work they will leave. To any firm leaders plotting your next “how can we get people back into […]

a kitten playing with money

New Hires Are Making Absolutely Wild Demands Like Decent Salaries and Remote Work, Says Guy

Fresh off the ole tweet machine today we have this: New hires in accounting with 0 exp are demanding: – $80k-$100k – Remote work – 30 hours a week – Client contact / advisory roles This is unsustainable. What does the future of U.S. talent strategy look like? — Brandon Hall (@bhallcpa) July 8, 2022 […]

various marijuana products

CPAs Should Get Into Weed, Says CPA Into Weed (As a Business, That Is)

“Cannabusiness” is booming and obnoxious cutesy phrase aside, it’s a $25 billion-and-growing (heh) industry with more potential than a fresh cart of Blue Dream on a Saturday night. Clever CPAs who get in on the ground will not only open themselves up to nearly unlimited billing potential (yay), they’ll be helping cannabis businesses navigate the […]

a man buried in paper holding an I Quit sign

Being Home During Lockdown Shifted Accountants’ Priorities, Says Lady

Kristy Illuzzi, CPA, CGMA of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) on why the Great Resignation is affecting the profession so acutely: I think the Great Resignation is interesting in that it has impacted almost every sector of our economy and every profession in some way, and it’s no different in the accounting industry. I think […]

a young lady in a jean jacket against a bright yellow background

Gen Z is Wearing ‘Pajamas’ to Work and No One Cares

We here at Going Concern have always worked remotely, cranking out our hard-hitting investigative journalism from the nearest coffee shop or cat hair-covered couch in our nicest T-shirts since 2009. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Bramwell and I applied our expertise (for once) and wrote a remote work guide for those of you […]

Finding/Retaining Staff and Challenges Working With the IRS Are Top PITAs for CPA Firms, Says AICPA Survey

Small firms think ‘challenges when working with the IRS’ is a bigger PITA than trying to find and retain talent according to the results of the 2022 AICPA Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) CPA Firm Top Issues Survey released by the AICPA this week. Via Journal of Accountancy: The IRS issue didn’t resonate only with […]

a slice of pizza on a plate

Pizza Parties In Lieu of Compensation: A Comprehensive History

Have you attended a pizza party lately? Has your firm been trying to seduce you back into the office with the promise of under-seasoned jarred sauce and crust? Have you ever stared down a tiny tub of garlic butter sauce wondering wtf you’re doing with your life? Then this piece (heh) is for you. Wikipedia […]

Are Auditors Becoming as Hard to Find as a PS5?

Alternate title: If You Are an Accounting Student, Expect to End Up In Audit When You Graduate Ever since early 2020 we have been forced to learn how to go without, not always an easy task in our always-connected, on-demand, two-day-delivery world. I don’t know about you but if I have to wait longer than […]

AICPA Report: Accounting Firms Just Aren’t Hiring Accounting Grads Like They Used To

The latest Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report came out this week, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been anxiously waiting two whole years for it. I mean, I didn’t save the date or anything, but all of us around here have been […]

AICPA Trends Report Finds Enrollment in Master’s Programs, Hiring by CPA Firms Taking a Breather

The AICPA released its much anticipated 2017 Trends In the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits (“AICPA Trends” or “TSAGDPAR” for those of you who can’t resist an acronym) report today, and it shows two major developments: 1) A dropoff in enrollment for master’s in accounting programs; 2) Slower hiring […]